The Big Deal Weekly: Messi magic as Argentina cash in, Melb Victory facing massive sanctions, Cricket Australia holds breath for Boxing Day, Brown's bizarre Eels deal and more
Newsletter No. 15, 19 December 2022
Welcome to The Big Deal, and Merry Christmas!
We’re having a spell from the wrap next week but the podcast will continue to ramp up - in a few days we’re kicking off part 1 of our series on The Art Of The Deal, where top AFL agent Marty Pask joins Tredders to unpack the details and process for securing the prized signature of sports star. Don’t miss it, join us on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Meanwhile it has been a wild week for the round ball. Lionel Messi has finally secured the one gong that has eluded him and is on top of the world after leading Argentina to an incredible World Cup final win over France, while the game’s problems at home are also big news after a weekend of shame in the A-League.
Let’s get stuck in!
IN THIS WEEK’S WRAP OF THE BIG DEALS
Argentina celebrates record pay day
Melbourne Victory facing serious sanctions
APL’S decision a “raging bonfire” - Peacock
Cricket Australia bargains on Boxing Day bonanza
ICC reveals digital delight
Indian opener turns eye to sports tech
Brown signs slippery deal with Eels
Netball Australia considered abandoning quad series
No change to Brownlow
Baseball fan’s error proves expensive
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ARGENTINA CELEBRATES RECORD PAY DAY AFTER WORLD CUP GLORY
Argentina will bank $US42 million (A$62.7 million) for toppling France in arguably the greatest ever World Cup final.
Lionel Messi and his team-mates won’t receive all the money but are expected to enjoy a good proportion of it.
It is the richest World Cup kitty in history, surpassing the US$38 million that France won four years ago.
It also monsters the US$2.8 million Argentina won for its last title in 1986.
France had to settle for the US$30 million runners-up prize.
Australia took home $US14 million for reaching the round of 16 and was only beaten in Qatar by the two eventual finalists.
The total prize pool of US$440 million was 10% higher than Russia 2018.
The club protection and club benefit programs saw even bigger boosts.
The former, which was the insurance against injury to players, rose 64% to US$220 million.
The latter climbed almost 50% to US$310 million and rewards clubs whose players trained for and appeared in Qatar.
How can FIFA afford all this?
Well, the governing body is poised to pocket US$11 billion from media rights and sponsorships for the 2026 World Cup in the US, Canada and Mexico which will expand to 48 teams.
That’s up from the US$7.5 billion it made from the four years leading up to the Qatar tournament.
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MELBOURNE VICTORY FACING SERIOUS SANCTIONS
The fallout from Saturday night’s disgraceful A-League Melbourne derby continues to grow with the cost in real terms to the game in Australia still to be assessed.
Melbourne Victory is facing serious club sanctions after being handed a show cause notice by Football Australia.
Those potential sanctions include financial penalties, loss of points and even being forced to play the remainder of their games this season behind closed doors which would cost the club millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Victory currently sits eighth on the A-League ladder with 10 points, equal with fifth-placed Central Coast.
Any significant points deduction would be a hammer blow to its title chances after an inglorious finals exit last season.
The club is itself endeavouring to identify fans who stormed the pitch with lifetime bans being threatened.
By Monday morning, two of those fans had reportedly made themselves known to Victoria Police.
It is still not known whether fans’ protests around the league, including walkouts during matches, will prompt a rethink by the Australian Professional Leagues after its decision to sell the next three A-League grand finals to Sydney.
It has since been revealed at $12 million hole in the APL’s balance sheet due to declining broadcast income prompted the grand final sell-off.
APL’S DECISION A “RAGING BONFIRE” - PEACOCK
Respected sports journalist Adam Peacock says league administrators misjudged the reaction of fans after selling the next three A-League grand finals to Sydney.
Speaking to The Big Deal podcast before the weekend’s disgraceful scenes unfolded in Melbourne, Peacock, a dedicated Sydneysider, said he was stunned by the turn of events.
“Even I looked at that and thought, ‘Yep, I’m not sure about that’, he said.
“It’s shocked everyone what a raging bonfire it’s become very, very quickly.”
Peacock said tradition and integrity of the competition has been cast to the wind.
“When it gets down to it, it’s about fans and fans like traditions that they can relate to .. because it’s based on meritocracy.
“(Fans) don’t have a seat at the board, they don’t have a say in the day to day running of the organisation but they can hold organisations to account … so in the end they do have the power, it’s an extreme power that they have got and they don’t utilise it very often but I can understand it.”
Catch up on the interview on Apple Podcasts or below.
CRICKET AUSTRALIA BARGAINS ON BOXING DAY BONANZA
It’s Melbourne or bust if Cricket Australia is to salvage anything financially significant from this year’s Test series.
The West Indies aren’t the draw cards they once were and a two-day Test at the Gabba against South Africa has put another gaping hole in the governing board’s revenue.
The decision to begin the match on a Saturday robbed it of what would normally be a bumper Friday crowd.
As it turned out, the weekend was all that there was with 34 wickets falling over two days.
CA was fortunate to get 47,512 fans through the gates on those two days but there would be no day three.
ICC REVEALS DIGITAL DELIGHT AFTER T20 WORLD CUP
The ICC says the recent T20 World Cup held in Australia in October broke all sorts of records for digital engagement.
It recorded 6.58 billion views across all ICC platforms - an incredible 65% rise on the 2021 event.
The ICC’s strategic partnership with Meta, owners of Facebook and Instagram, are believed to be largely responsible for the result with 6.1 billion video views across its pages on those two platforms.
Broadcast viewing hours on digital platforms were also up 59%.
Some 1.28 billion people worldwide tuned into the event spending a total of 3.95 billion hours watching, including 365 million hours streaming matches.
INDIAN OPENER TURNS EYE TO SPORTS TECH
Former Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan has launched a US$75 million venture capital fund to invest in sports technology.
The fund, named Da One Global Ventures (DOGV), is incorporated in Abu Dhabi and features a SportsTech accelerator, to identify global trends in sports technology, as well as an esports arm.
It will have interest in funding start-ups utilising sports tech, esports, gaming and Web3.
The 37-year-old Dhawan made his name in one-day cricket scoring 17 centuries placing him equal 20th on the all-time list but might be set to make an even bigger impression in his business career.
BROWN SIGNS SLIPPERY DEAL WITH EELS
Parramatta’s Dylan Brown, 22, could spend the remainder of his career with the Eels after signing an unusual deal that could keep him at CommBank Stadium until the end of 2031.
There was plenty of interest for the five-eighth with new side the Dolphins believed to have offered Brown a contract in the order of $1 million per season.
In the end, he agreed to a new three-year deal with the Eels.
But it is an unusual clause in his contract which has grabbed the headlines.
He has two options to extend his Parramatta stay - the first in 2026 and then again midway through a possible six-year extension.
"We respected his and his manager's wishes and we're comfortable with where we landed," said Eels CEO Jim Sarantinos.
"The deal was negotiated heavily on both sides and ultimately this is where we landed.”
The option amounts to a potential eight-year contract for Brown.
NETBALL AUSTRALIA CONSIDERED ABANDONING QUAD SERIES
Netball Australia’s bank balance remains on life support with NewsCorp reporting that it nearly had to make the gut-wrenching decision to withdraw the Diamonds from next month’s Quad Series in South Africa.
It comes after Gina Rinehart pulled her $15 million sponsorship after a player-led objection about her company Hancock Prospecting and its history with First Nations People.
The trigger was Indigenous Diamonds player Donnell Wallam expressing concern about racist comments Hancock’s father Lang made in 1984.
The report suggests that players had only been assured of their participation in the South African tournament with a month’s notice.
The Quad Series, which includes England and New Zealand as well as South Africa, begins on January 22 and is seen as a key lead-up tournament to next year’s World Cup which will also be held in South Africa.
Curiously, netball suffered none of the backlash soccer has experienced despite its decision to sell its own Super Netball grand final from next season.
This is partly due to being much more transparent with its fanbase.
Victoria will host the 2023 Super Netball grand final after the Victorian government took over Rinehart’s sponsorship.
Super Netball will continue to fix its grand final venues ahead of time with a view to maximising its return for the event.
NO CHANGE TO BROWNLOW - McLACHLAN
AFL chief Gil McLachlan says the voting process for the Brownlow Medal will not be changed despite an umpire leaking sensitive voting information during the season.
That umpire, Michael Pell, has since been dumped by the League and is now facing criminal charges along with three other men.
McLachlan conceded the incident had damaged morale in the AFL umpiring fraternity but was adamant there was no need to change the system.
“There’s damage caused by that scandal and I think the umpires have been hurting but I don’t think the integrity of the Brownlow is compromised in any way,“ he said.
“There was not any manipulation of the votes and the winner.
“It was an issue of personal integrity, allegedly, and we have got to see how that plays out.”
Pell allegedly leaked voting information for some matches which were exposed via unusual betting trends on the count.
BASEBALL FAN’S ERROR PROVES EXPENSIVE
The fan who caught Aaron Judge’s record 62nd American League home run this year has cost himself a jaw-dropping US$1.75 million by auctioning his prized catch, rather than accepting an offer made weeks ago.
Corey Youmans told ESPN he was offered $3 million for the ball but sent it to auction with the hope of selling it for even more.
That failed to eventuate on the weekend when Goldin Auctions dropped the hammer at “only” US$1.25 million.
"As a fan, I'm curious to see what it's worth, who buys it and what they do with it,” Youmans had told ESPN before the ill-fated auction.
Well, he’s sure found that out the hard way with a very expensive ‘error’.
Closing fees pushed the final sale price of the ball to US$1.5 million.
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